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Aug 9 / Ruth Montgomery blogspot

The FORTE Ensemble

It was a honour to be involved with Music and the Deaf’s pilot project funded by Arts Council England on tour with other deaf musicians – Eloise Garland (Voice), Sean Chandler (Cornet) and Danny Lane (Piano).
We performed at the House of Lords for Decibel’s Year of Sound, then up to Newcastle at the Sage, and lastly at Kings Place in London.

by Will Hunt

Music and the Deaf’s FORTE Ensemble was honoured to perform in concert at the House of Lords for the launch event of the Decibels “Year of Sound 2016”.


Hosted by Lord Michael Berkely of Knighton, CBE, the Honourary President of the Decibels charity, and organised by its Founder and Director Ken Carter, it was an extraordinary event that we were so humbled to be a part of.

Ruth Montgomery

The event showcased some of the UK’s most talented actors and musicians who have a hearing loss, including Caroline Parker MBE, and our very own 4ORTE Ensemble featuring Danny Lane, Ruth Montgomery, Eloise Garland and Sean Chandler.

Ruth performed “Sonatina” by Michael Berkeley’s late father Lennox, and Eloise sang the second movement of “Music: An ode by Algernon Charles Swinburne” by John Hosking, both of which were beautifully accompanied by Edward Montgomery and very warmly received!

The event also featured a talk by Ilan Dwek, Lecturer within Theatre Arts Education & Deaf Studies at the University of Reading, and two Shakespeare monologues, wonderfully recited and signed by students from the University, showcasing how theatre can be made accessible for audiences and performers alike.

Danny talk Danny and Ruth

Danny then gave a brief talk about Music and the Deaf and The 4ORTE Ensemble, and expressed his thanks to Ken Carter for so kindly inviting the Ensemble to perform.

The group then came together for their first ever performance of Danny’s own arrangement of Caccini’s “Ave Maria”, and we’re pleased to say it was extremely well received by the audience!

It was a wonderful event to be part of, and we feel very privileged to be there. Our most sincere thanks to Ken Carter, the Decibels Charity, interpreters Sheryl Gale and Keren Seabrook, Lord Michael Berkeley for having us, and allowing Music and the Deaf and the musicians to demonstrate that music should be for all, regardless of a person’s level of hearing.

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by Will Hunt News Feed Events Feed

Music and the Deaf’s 4ORTE Ensemble gave it’s debut public concert at Sage Gateshead on 1st June, a groundbreaking event for the charity, Sage Gateshead, and music and deafness in the UK.

4ORTE at Sage Gateshead

A unique event in the UK, one of the largest and renowned venues in North of England hosted a concert exclusively featuring deaf and hard of hearing musicians.

The musicians of the Ensemble (Danny Lane, Ruth Montgomery, Eloise Garland and Sean Chandler, accompanied by Edward Montgomery) performed a programme of music by Chopin, Hummel, Handel, Harold Moss, John Hosking, Rachmaninov and Bizet. The Ensemble also gave two very special performances as a quartet of an arrangement of Londonderry Air and “Ave Maria” by Caccini.

Ruth at the Sage

The musicians also each gave a brief talk about their lives, their experience of deafness and as musicians with a hearing loss, and explained what music meant to them.

An audience member has kindly written to us to say “I was wondering how you would play as an ensemble as I thought this would present difficulties but I think your combined deafness actually enhanced your ability to play together. It was a wonderful choice of programme and I enjoyed every minute of it. I particularly liked the individual presentations of your back grounds and how you became so involved in music”.

Danny talk at Sage Eloise at Sage

We’re delighted to have made such an impact and that the musicians of the FORTE Ensemble, and other musicians out there with a hearing loss, are given the stage that they deserve and are recognised simply as outstanding musicians! Deafness becomes irrelevant, and all that matters is the music.

Earlier in the day, the FORTE Ensemble musicians also gave a workshop for deaf and hearing children and young people. The musicians demonstrated each of their instruments and explored different musical aspects such as rhythm and dynamics through games. Some of the young people also gave a performances of music they have been learning, and even performed a short piece composed with the musicians in the workshop!

Danny Sage Workshop Sean Sage Workshop

Music and the Deaf would like to thank Sage Gateshead for it’s invaluable support of our project, and for recognising the importance of ensuring that access and opportunities in music are open to all, regardless of a person’s level of hearing. We would also like to thank Arts Council England, Grand Central Rail, and the Friends of Music and the Deaf for kindly and generously supporting the FORTE Ensemble and project, Marc for the photos, and the wonderful audience who came to see the concert!

The FORTE Ensemble will be performing live in concert again at Kings Place London on 10th July, and running a workshop for deaf and hearing children on the day from 2-4pm. Contact us to enquire about the workshop, and get your concert tickets here!

Danny rehearsing at Sage Sage Gateshead

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The FORTE Ensemble’s final concert at Kings Place!

by Will Hunt News Feed Events Feed

Our FORTE project has finished on a high with the Ensemble’s concert at Kings Place on Sunday 10th July!

This unique ensemble of deaf musicians featuring Danny Lane, Ruth Montgomery, Eloise Garland and Sean Chandler, joined by guest pianist Elizabeth Elliott, performed a programme of music by composers including Chick Corea, Frédéric Chopin, Sergei Rachmaninov and John Hosking.

Ruth and Roger Montgomery

This was the third and final concert of what has been a truly pioneering project, the group having previously performed at the House of Lords and Sage Gateshead. We have engaged over 150 people directly in seeing the Ensemble in concert, and the message of access and inclusion in classical music, and raising the expectations of musicians with a hearing loss, has reached tens of thousands of people across the UK.

As part of the FORTE project, the musicians of the Ensemble also delivered free music workshops for deaf and hearing children, their families and friends at Sage Gateshead and Kings Place. This involved children and young people in all walks of life, with varying levels of hearing loss, some of whom have had little to no engagement with music before. We hope that it will encourage them and their families that hearing loss should not be a barrier to playing, performing and enjoying music!

4ORTE workshop at Kings Place

Audience feedback, Kings Place:

“We thought the Ensemble were fantastic – they are all extremely talented and the format was perfect for those of is who don’t experience classical music often.”

“I think you are successfully challenging so many assumptions – bravo!”

“Incredibly inspiring and so much talent. Start of something so much bigger I hope. Please keep it up as I would love to see it again!”

  • 95% of our audience at Kings Place said they would recommend the FORTE Ensemble as a group to see.
  • 100% of this audience found our concert accessible to them.
  • A quarter of our audience never usually attend classical music events, and just under a third of those who answered our questionnaire were deaf or hard of hearing, suggesting that new ground has certainly been broken and a real impact has been made!

We would like to say a huge thank you to accompanists Edward Montgomery and Roger Montgomery and interpreters Sheryl Gale and Keren Seabrook for their hard work and dedication to the FORTE project. We would also like to thank Arts Council England, Sage Gateshead, Kings Place, MED-EL, Paul Herrington, and Grand Central Rail for kindly and generously supporting this groundbreaking project.

We hope that as a legacy of this project, the FORTE Ensemble will continue to perform in venues around the UK for years to come!

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